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Hospitals prepare for increase in children suffering rare disease triggered by Covid

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Hospitals across the country are preparing for a significant increase in children needing treatment for a rare disease triggered by coronavirus.

Paediatric departments across the NHS are recalling children’s nurses who have been redeployed to help care for adult patients as well as freeing up specialist intensive care beds to be ready for more cases of the rare condition first identified after the first wave last year.

Because of how widespread COVID-19 infections have become in the last month, with the numbers of patients in hospital peaking at almost 40,000, experts believe they will see a larger number of children affected by the disease called Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS).

Modelling by London’s Evelina Children’s Hospital, which treated around 110 children with PIMS during the first wave of the virus, suggested for every 200 adults admitted to hospital across London, there was one child admitted with PIMS at the Evelina.

This modelling cannot be used to predict admissions across the country, but paediatric experts believe they will begin to see a larger number of children with the condition with a peak expected in the next three weeks.

It is thought COVID-19 triggers an inflammatory response among a very small minority of children – of all children infected with COVID-19, less than half of one per cent went on to develop PIMS.

Those that do suffer severe inflammation in their blood vessels and can have damage to their heart. Symptoms of PIMS include a rash, fever and abdominal pain.

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Source: The Independent, 4 February 2021

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